Have you ever wondered when an Oklahoma probate is actually necessary?
Although a lot of effort is put in to avoiding probate, there are times when it is simply the only option to change the title to a piece of property or free up funds held in a bank account.
The result of a probate proceeding is usually a Judge signing an order that transfers title to property. Below are some scenarios in which you might need Oklahoma probate:
1. Real Property. An unmarried person dies owning a house and title to the house is solely in the deceased person’s name;
2. Life insurance. A person dies leaving a life insurance policy with beneficiaries who are no longer living;
3. Not transferred to Trust. A person who has a living trust dies, but has property that was never transferred to the trust such as real property or investment accounts; and
4. Mineral Interests. A person dies owning an Oklahoma mineral interest but the interest is not held in a trust and the title is solely in the name of person who dies. Many times the operator of the Well will not continue to pay royalties without an order from the Oklahoma probate court specifying who the heirs are.
These are general examples but there may be ways in the specific situation to secure the funds without probate.
Another resource for figuring out when an Oklahoma probate may be required is the Oklahoma Bar Association’s article Is a Probate needed?